Road Trip to the Grampians

Trip Start Jan 15, 2009
Trip End Mar 07, 2009

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Where I stayed

Flag of Australia  , Victoria,
Saturday, February 21, 2009

I got up at about 7:00 am and packed my bags.  I checked out of the Adelaide Hilton and caught a cab for the airport.  At the airport, I picked up my rental car from Europcar.  It is a gold colored, Hyundai Elantra.  Nice car!  I was nervous about driving on the left side of the road, so I drove around the parking lot a few times to practice.  I tried turning, parking, signaling, etc.  I must say it is a bit like learning to drive all over again.  After about 30 minutes, I was ready to venture beyond the confines of the airport.  I got on the road and headed back into Adelaide and then to the Princes Highway toward my next destination: The Grampians National Park.

The Grampians is a mountainous area in the next state-Victoria.  It is similar to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in terms of altitudes and size.  I drove for quite some time along the Princes Highway through kilometer after kilometer of monotonous hay fields with grazing livestock and patches of various species of gum trees.  I stopped at a roadside café and had a sandwich for lunch.  Later, I took another small break in a town called Kaniva, where I got some ice cream and stretched my legs for a few minutes.  I traveled another hour or so and stopped at a rest area and took a walk among the gum trees.  I saw a flock of Galahs.  I traveled another couple hours or so and stopped at a McDonald's to get a drink.  As I left the McDonald's, I could see the peaks of the Grampians rising from the plains of Victoria off in the distance.  I turned south and headed toward the town of Hall's Gap.  This section of road was a true test of my new driving abilities.  The road is a narrow, 2-lane road, which winds back and forth with many hairpin turns.  There is little to no shoulder on the road, and in many cases, only a couple of meters of gravel before a steep drop off or cliff.  Also, I was keeping a watch out for kangaroos, which are known to dart out in front of cars at dusk (which was quickly approaching).  It took me quite a while to wind my way through the mountain roads, but just before sunset, I descended into the little town of Hall's Gap.  It didn't take long to find my accommodations, D'Alton's Resort, as everything in the town is found along a single 2 km strip of road.

They were expecting me at D'Alton's and gave  me the key to my cabin.  These little studio cabins they have are very nice.  They have a porch, a kitchenette, a shower/hot tub combo, bathroom, king size bed and a little sitting area with a tv and stereo.  Radio and tv stations are few in this area.  There is no phone in the cabin and there is no internet access here.   Cell phones don't work well either.  I had only one bar and it was intermittent. 
I unloaded my luggage and made a beeline for an empty field adjacent to the resort property that I had noticed on my way in.  As I had hoped, there was now a small mob of Kangaroos grazing there.  I slowly approached as close as I could without spooking them and snapped a few photos.  I also got some good photos of some Crimson Rosellas on my way back to the cabin.  Next, I got in the car and made a quick trip to the General Store down the road.  I picked up some groceries for the next few days and stocked the refrigerator.  I cooked a frozen microwaveable dinner and ate it while I looked at a map of the hiking trails in the Grampians National Park.  I decided which trails I would try to hike in tomorrow and then I hit the sack early-about 10 pm Victoria time.

A word on time zones-Australia has fractional time zones.  In the US, each time zone is one hour different than the previous time zone.  In Australia, they also have ˝ hour time zone increments.  For example:  Adelaide, in the state of South Australia, is ˝ hour different than Hall's Gap, in the state of Victoria.
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